Western Sydney Wanderers put on a show and Jack Rodwell scored his first goal for the club, but Sunday’s thrilling Isuzu UTE A-League showdown against Melbourne City was overshadowed by a serious injury to Rhys Williams.
Plagued by injuries throughout his career, Wanderers captain Williams is facing a prolonged period on the sidelines after being carried off the field on the stretcher with 12 minutes remaining in the 3-3 draw in Melbourne.
In troubling scenes at AAMI Park, the former Australia international defender clutched his hamstring in agony in the second half, with Channel 10 reporter Michael Zappone describing the issue as “severe”.
After the absorbing contest, Labinot Haliti – deputising for head coach Carl Robinson due to illness – provided an update post-game.
“He’s a great leader, we wish him a speedy recovery,” Wanderers assistant Haliti said.
“It didn’t look good but I’m sure the medical staff will look after it and we’ll get more of an update as we go along.”
ISUZU UTE A-LEAGUE: MELBOURNE CITY V WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS
City 3-3 Wanderers: Honours even in six-goal thriller
Somehow, City and the Wanderers share the points in an absorbing shoot-out on Sunday evening.
There were countless chances in the six minutes of stoppage time after Western Sydney were denied a penalty for handball.
City and Western Sydney, though, walk away with a draw as fans return home buzzing for more!
City-Wanderers – the gift that keeps on giving
Blink and you’ll miss it.
City’s lead lasts just eight minutes after Japanese import Keijiro Ogawa beats the offside trap for his first goal in the competition with 22 minutes remaining.
Super sub, super goal!
Talk about an immediate impact.
On the stroke of the hour, Marco Tilio received a pass from Andrew Nabbout and riffled a shot into the top corner of the net.
Trailing 2-0, City now lead 2-0 after overturning a two-goal deficit.
Can ‘hapless’ Wanderers keep up with City?
After a red-hot start in the absence of Carl Robinson, Channel 10 commentator Andy Harper was left less than impressed with the Wanderers and their lack of midfield energy against City.
During the half-time break, Harper said on Paramount+: “At 2-0 down, you’re thinking it’s not even a full moon, what the hell is going on.
“But as the half wore on, it was just obvious to me City were going to get goals. It was every time they went forward… Western Sydney Wanderers were completely hapless to stop the forward progression of the ball.
“They are really struggling to match the workload. They just don’t have players who are putting in the same amount of intensity and effort through midfield. Not all but they don’t have enough combining to stop the City onslaught.”
On the thrilling opening 45 minutes itself, Harper added: “It was really good to watch. The coaches would’ve had heart failure at some moments because of the lack of diligence or maybe the rustiness.
“But overwhelmingly for me was the positive attitude from both teams. To go and attack, to play forward and get numbers forward.”
It’s wild and it’s fun as City draw level
From 2-0 down, City head into the break on level terms thanks to usual suspect Jamie Maclaren in the 36th minute.
Back in the team and back on the scoresheet as Australia international Maclaren nets his third of the campaign.
Milestone man Jamieson with goal of the season contender… well almost
What is the perfect way to cap your 100th game for Melbourne City?
A long-range stunner would probably be top of the list and milestone man Jamieson almost ticked that off the list, but the woodwork had other ideas as City push forward in search of an equaliser.
Chaotic start continues as Wanderers put ball in their own net
While the Wanderers breached City twice inside the opening 10 minutes, they were hardly convincing defensively.
And City made the most of that fact, albeit in fortuitous circumstances as the ball ricocheted off Dimitri Petratos after 16 minutes.
Wanderers shellshock City
Only eight minutes played and the Wanderers already lead defending champions City 2-0 away from home.
Ex-Manchester City and England midfielder Jack Rodwell joins the action with a thunderous effort at the near post.
Rodwell celebrates his maiden A-Leagues goal and first pro strike since January 2019 in style as AAMI Park falls silent.
Not the start Scott Jamieson was hoping for in his 100th appearance for City.
Troisi the villain in Melbourne
Former Melbourne Victory star James Troisi silences the AAMI Park crowd with a delightful opener for the Wanderers.
Having received the ball on the edge of the penalty box, Troisi fired low and hard past Melbourne City goalkeeper Tom Glover.
Not a bad way to score your first goal of the season.
Notable absentee on Wanderers’ sidelines
In this rescheduled fixture, the Wanderers welcome back some key players but they are without their main man – head coach Carl Robinson.
Illness means Robinson is absent as Labinot Hailiti and Gary van Egmond debutise in Melbourne.
LIBERTY A-LEAGUE: MELBOURNE CITY V WELLINGTON PHOENIX, BRISBANE ROAR V WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS
Roar 0-1 Wanderers: Visitors celebrate first win of the season
Finally, after four winless games, the Wanderers are on the board this term.
It took a second-half penalty but Western Sydney are suddenly just three points adrift of the Finals places.
City 4-0 Nix: Melbourne show no mercy as debutants join party
Melbourne City put Wellington to the sword in merciless fashion, a result that left the Phoenix with 18 goals conceded and just one scored through six games.
As the sun beamed down, City gave professional debuts to two players – 16-year-old Isabella Accardo and goalkeeper Coco Majstorovic – during the closing stages.
While Stott came close minutes earlier, there was no denying Emma Checker 12 minutes from the end at AAMI Park.
It was another goal via a corner, this time Checker helping add some gloss to the scoreline.
Crossbar says no!
All that stood in the way of Stott and one of the goals of the season was the woodwork in Melbourne.
The New Zealander, against Wellington, rattled the crossbar with a sensational long-range effort.
Stott insisted City needed to improve in the second half. She seems to be going about it on her own terms!
Wanderers on cusp of kick-starting season?
Up until this point, it’s been a rough 2021-22 for Western Sydney Wanderers.
With three draws and one loss in the Liberty A-League campaign, the Wanderers have been desperate for three points.
Western Sydney are on track for that much-needed victory thanks to Bryleeh Henry’s cool penalty in the second half after some neat footwork from Olivia Price, who was brought down in the area.
Can they hold on?
Matilda call-up one day, goal the next
It’s been quite the weekend for Winonah Heatley.
Called into Australia’s squad for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup in India, the 20-year-old defender pounced on a goal-mouth scramble to celebrate her first City goal on the stroke of half-time, capping her Matildas selection.
Things escalated quickly as City took a 3-0 lead into the interval but the hosts were far from pleased, just listen to Rebekah Stott.
“I think we’re lucky to be 3-0 up,” Stott told Paramount+. “Pretty bad start from us but hopefully we can get back into it and perform better.
“We need to control the game better. Connect our passing, it’s not good enough at the moment.”
Christmas already for Wilkinson at AAMI?
If there’s one thing you don’t do, it’s gift Hannah Wilkinson goals.
Wilkinson didn’t have to be asked twice as the City forward pounced on an under-hit defensive header, lobbing the ball over Phoenix goalkeeper Lily Alfeld minutes before half-time.
She has eight goals to her name this season on the back of a five-goal haul against neighbours Melbourne City.
So close but yet so far for red-hot Gorry
Katrina Gorry has returned to football with renewed vigour and enthusiasm since giving birth to her first child.
The Brisbane Roar star and mother came within a whisker of breaking the deadlock against Western Sydney Wanderers in the first half, the goalkeeper making a meal of the shot but somehow keeping the ball out with help from the woodwork!
Torpey Torpedo in Melbourne!
Who said defenders can’t score worldies?
Melbourne City recruit Kaitlyn Torpey opened the scoring against Wellington in stunning fashion just before half-hour mark.
The 21-year-old found the back of the net via a half-volley on the edge of the penalty area, much to the delight of the home crowd.
Guess who is back, back again?
After almost 800 days, Melbourne City defender Chelsea Blissett makes her first start in the Liberty A-League.
Blissett missed the entire 2020-21 season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament, which required surgery.
The 21-year-old will now make her first Liberty A-League start in 784 days as City host Wellington in Melbourne.